Voice From The Grave
(Old West)

by Jennifer

Nathan, Buck and Ezra were happy to be back home in Four Corners. They had been gone a week, keeping an eye on the Seminole village. Chris Larabee, the unofficial leader of the seven men hired by Judge Travis to look after the small backwater, had dispatched them after hearing several reports that a bunch of ranchers were causing problems in those parts. The three men discovered that these reports were true, and once again fought along side the villagers to protect their land. The battle had not been as grizzly as the one involving the Ghosts of the Confederacy, but there had been moments when they had almost crossed the border of life and death.

Now they were safe and that adventure behind them. All they wanted to do was make it to the saloon for a drink. Ezra had been away from the tables and was itching to put his skills to the test once again but it seemed fate had other plans.

Their journey to the saloon was impeded by a numerous number of women. They did not descend on them all at once, but rather a few at a time. Each time sharing a smile, or transmitting their sorrow in a look. No one said anything but there eyes seemed to know a secret that none of the men were privy to. After a few minutes it became apparent that all this attention was aimed at Ezra. He was puzzled to what was going on but not as much as Buck. When they first realized that the women seemed to be flocking to Ezra, Buck had tried to call upon his animal magnetism to garner their attention but it was like he was invisible.

"Has the world gone loco," Buck exclaimed and was met by a chuckle from Nathan.

Buck spotted JD and Casey at the Clarion office and waved them over. He wanted to know what was going on and the kid would know.

"Howdy fellas," JD greeted them.

Casey merely stood along side JD giving Ezra a sympathetic smile. As another women passed locking her eyes with Ezra, Buck's small amount of patience became nonexistent.

"JD, what the hell is going on?" Buck demanded.

JD's eyes gazed from Buck to Ezra. This only seemed to add to the mystery.

"Do not look at me, Mr. Dunne, I assure you I'm as equally puzzled to what has transpired in my absence that would recommend me so highly to these ladies," Ezra assured him.

"Mrs. Potter got a shipment of this book, Only One Man, well everyone seems to think there is some resemblance to you," JD informed them.

"Some?" Casey squawked as she pulled out a book from the satchel she was carrying and opened it to a page and read. "I could not tell you what part of him was so spectacular, whether it be his mesmerizing green eyes, or his sweet southern voice that seemed to sneak up on you like a warm summer breeze, or maybe it was the way he smiled exposing that gold tooth."

Suddenly she was interrupted by Buck, "Casey that could be anyone."

"You didn't let me finish," she paused and found the passage she was looking for, "Though he changed his name from town to town, I would always call him Ezra Standish."

"Well, well, Ezra," Buck said as he slapped him on the back. "Looks like you made an impression on some one."

Ezra could not imagine who he knew that had the talent or the inclination to record his life for posterity. "Might I inquire as to who the author is?" Ezra asked.

JD took the book from Casey and scanned the cover until he found the name, "Jenny O'Riley," he answered. Ezra froze. He could not have heard what he thought he had. He had not heard that name in a while, in truth he never thought he would hear it again, especially not here. Ezra's face turned deathly white as he asked JD to repeat what he had just said. When JD repeated the name Ezra lost all feeling and everything went black. He passed out, but luckily for him Nathan saw him waver and he caught him before he hit the ground.

"Was it something I said?" JD asked in disbelief. He had never seen a grown man faint before, and this was very disconcerting for him because it was Ezra. He did not think any thing bothered him.

When Ezra came to he found himself strung out on a pew in the Church. He slowly sat up and looked around. His gaze locked on Josiah who was standing behind the pulpit dissecting him.

"What the hell happened?" Ezra asked rubbing his temples.

Josiah looked at him, "Think that should have been my line."

Slowly the events of the morning crept inside his head. He pulled himself onto his feet, and dusted off some dirt that had settled on his blue jacket. At that moment he could not stand his own skin. He wanted to run as fast and as far away as he could get. Rationally he knew he could not escape the memories but he had to try. The problem was he did not know where to go. All of a sudden he felt like he did when has five years old and he could not find his mother. In short, he felt lost. His surroundings, though they were familiar, seemed strange and peculiar. He did not know where to turn.

"Want to talk about it?" Josiah asked.

"Talk about what?" Ezra replied.

"What ever is bothering you. Confession is good for the soul." Josiah told him.

Confession? What did he have to confess? Well, at least nothing in this case. What did he want him to say? That he did not know him. That the man they thought was so callous had feelings. That he was capable of love and had a whole in his heart that would never heal. He looked up at Josiah and his shook his head. "Is God listening?" Ezra asked him.

"Brother Ezra, he is always listening," Josiah told him.

Josiah was surprised to see the tears in the gambler's usually tranquil eyes.

"He wasn't then." Ezra said quietly and turned and walked out to the church leaving Josiah to call after him.

After roaming around the streets aimlessly for about an hour Ezra finally found himself in his room. He tossed his hat on the bedpost and crawled on to his bed. He lay on his back, staring at the ceiling, hoping that sleep would come but instead the memories of her flooded his mind.

He could hear her soft giggle, picture her biting her bottom lip nervously when she was unsure of herself. He saw her face in his mind's eye. He could still see it so clearly, even after so long. Her heart shaped face, her sparkling blue eyes and her small little waste still haunted him.

One of the best things his mother had ever done was dump him at Uncle Louis's. That was where he met Jenny. She was his Uncle's ward. He was her godparent and after her parents were killed by the fever she came to live with him and his family. Ezra never got along with his cousins, not because they resented him, but rather they were not cut from the same cloth. At first, he had felt isolated and alone but Jenny would not let him wallow in self-pity. She sought him out every chance she got. They became fast friends even though they were almost complete opposites. She was as sweet and innocent, as he was mischievous and cunning.

He only stayed at his uncle's a few months but in that time he had made a friend for life. They wrote letters back and forth when they were apart and when they were together it was if time would stand still. There had only been one time when she had not written back immediately to his inquiry of her situation. That he thought sadly had been the beginning of the end.

The walls seemed to be closing in on him. He needed to get out of his room. He needed a distraction and this time he knew he could not drown himself in a game of chance.

Ezra came to the conclusion that he needed to be around other people so he had gone looking for his comrades. He found them all in the church helping Josiah with the repairs. His offer of help was met with uncertainty and surprise but it was accepted. It did not surprise him that they reacted that way. Ezra hated menial labor and if he had been himself he would have tried every trick in the book to get out of helping them. Today, he was not himself so he welcomed the challenge.

When he passed JD he saw a copy of her book sitting on a pew. He outwardly cringed at the sight of it. Seeing his reaction JD quickly slipped it into his satchel. Ezra silently wondered how many of his colleagues had read her book. From the look on JD's face he had but the other's were as unreadable as he himself usually was. Ezra could not bring himself to pick up the book let alone read it. By the sounds of it the book was autobiographical. He did not need to read it to know what she said. He had been there; he had lived through it. Without reading it he knew what the intent was. She had told him what it would say.

It had been a warm summer day in New Orleans and they had been sitting off by themselves at the church picnic. It had been the first time they had seen each other since he was fourteen and she was twelve.

Now he was twenty-two and she was twenty. They both were very attractive. Her long curly brown hair was pulled up on top of her head and they both lay back looking at the water. They spent the afternoon exchanging stories. She told him of her affinity for writing and he shared with her his affinity for cards.

By then Ezra had learned to survive by conning other people. In his own circle he felt relaxed but around his family and her he felt regret and shame. He had been reluctant to tell her hat part of his life but could never keep a secret from her, except maybe the obvious, that he was in love with her. He had expected her to be repulsed by what he had done. He was surprised that she was not.

"Ezra, with all your faults, you are still the best man I know and some day the world will know that too. I'll write your exploits down for everyone to see," she claimed.

Ezra thought that she was naive, if she believed he was a good man. He did not believe it but seeing himself through her eyes he could not help but feel better about himself.

"You are? Are you?" he asked as he moved towards her and began tickling her. Ezra soon found out she was very ticklish. She responded to each touch with a fit of laughter. Through each chuckle she begged him to stop but he did not stop until he realized that many of the church members were looking at them unfavorably. He slowly stopped and looked into her blue eyes searching for signs of a retaliation but did not see any. For a moment he became submersed in her eyes and the world disappeared. He lowered his head towards hers. They were mere centimeters from kissing when they were interrupted by a gaggle of children running by. After that the spell was broken and they pulled apart, never to discuss what they had been about to do.

His memory had been so vivid, he had literally reached out to touch her, instead of connecting with her by some cosmic miracle, his hands found their way onto Chris Larabee's shoulder. Chris turned at the touch, shrugging off the gambler's hold on him. He turned and met the gambler's eyes and was surprised to see a tear stained face. Ezra quickly snapped back to reality and apologized to Chris and ran out of the church once again.

Everyone was left staring after him. They were at a loss to understand what he was going through. They all wanted to help him but they did not how.

JD knew the story because he had read Jenny's novel that morning. He suspected the guys had not done so. He suggested that if they wanted to know what was going on they should read the book. It was decided that night that the six of them would gather together and read the novel. None of the gunslingers were avid readers, so in order to save time they decided that they would each read a part. Chris Larabee thought there was nothing in that book that would change how he felt about Ezra. Later that night Chris would be proven wrong. In fact, he would discover that he and Ezra had something in common. Ezra sat all alone up in his room. His only company a bottle of unopened whiskey. It was a battle of wills, and right now the whiskey had the advantage but Ezra still had not give in. When he was nervous, or upset he drowned himself in the fiery liquid but tonight he knew that no matter how much he drank he would not escape the pain.

Finally, her image took him over and sent him flying back into the past. He found her by the punch bowl at the Keller's ball. She looked ravishing in that powdery blue gown. It was different for her usual apparel, in that it was lower cut, revealing cleavage. He pulled her on to the dance floor, and held her tight. He hair smelled of strawberries and her skin was appealing.

He felt her pull away; "Did you have fun?" she inquired. He looked at her and felt his cheeks redden, an uncomfortable smile formed on her face. He looked over his shoulder at Amy, who was waving at him from where she was standing with her friends. So Jenny had noticed him return with Amy, he mused. He did not normally take off in the middle of a party to partake in the pleasures of the flesh but Amy's offer was unexpected. Amy was beautiful but that was all. She paled in comparison to Jenny, in truth, every girl did.

He searched her blue eyes for any sign that she might be jealous but did not detect any jealously lurking in them. So he merely responded, "A gentleman never tells."

Anyone else would have scoffed or make some remark about what he had said but Jenny did not she just smiled and pulled him close and buried her head in his masculine shoulders.

They had spent the entire night at the dance in each other's arms lost in the flow of the music. He had hoped that night would never end then. Now he still wished it would have never ended but time was something that could never be tethered down.

Remembering that time brought tears to Ezra's eyes. The pain was too much for him. He picked up the whiskey bottle and flung it against the wall. With his hands he knocked everything of the dresser. Everything crashed to the floor all around him. After he pulled out all the drawers, he slammed his fist into the wall, and then slid to the floor sobbing.

It was almost midnight and Ezra still had not been able to fall asleep. His mind just would not quit torturing him. He had cried for two hours straight. He did not know why after all this time it was affecting him this way. Five years ago is when he should have cried. Instead, he had not even shed a tear. He had been void of feeling, and all he felt was numb. He had not had a chance to grieve his loss but now when he was better equipped to do so his body was letting him.

Ezra could not lie in bed starring at the walls. He was restless. He grabbed his jacket off the bedpost and decided to go for a walk. The breeze was cool against his face. He walked up and down the main street before he found himself for the third time that day in front of the church.

It had been his intention to go inside but he overheard the voices of his comrades so he thought better of it. He quietly went around to the back of the church and concealed himself in the back room. He could hear their voices and it sounded like they were reading something.

He heard Chris Larabee's authoritative voice remark; "Ezra could never anger me. In fact, the things that should have made me furious with him, seemed to endear him to me even more. Like the time his mother came to pay us a visit one day in June…"

Ezra could no longer hear Chris's voice. He was back in New Orleans sitting around the kitchen table with his cousin Matt, Jenny, and his mother. Maude had never approved of Ezra's relationship with Jenny. She found her too prim and proper, too honest. That was an attribution that Maude could never reconcile herself with. The only good thing that Maude could see about his friendship with Jenny was that it kept good faith with there relatives. Not that Maude really felt any kind of kinship to her late husband's brother's family but it was always good to have some supporters if you were ever in trouble. Which on occasion both her and Ezra were.

Ezra had enough with his mother's snide remarks. She had been criticizing him all day. She told him it would help improve his character but he did not think a few kind words would spoil him. He was taking it all in stride until his mother started in on Jenny; how she would never catch a man dressed like such a little mouse. Then she offered Jenny her own personal philosophy on what men wanted. According to Maude, they did not want innocent girls they liked girls who were mischievous and needed to be reigned in. Ezra could not believe his mother's gall. Who did she think she was? Ezra decided he would have to teach his mother a lesson.

He smiled at his mother and asked, "Do you remember that I had something to discuss with you."

She nodded that she did and waited for her son to continue. She was not prepared for what he was about to say.

Ezra moved closer to Jenny and put his arm on her shoulder. He looked deadly serious when he said, "Mother, you are going to be a grandmother. The lady is with child. We've decided that it would be prudent to get married before our child's appending birth."

He looked at his mother and watched as her face registered first surprise, then shock, then confusion, then disappointment and finally anger. She started wailing and asking him how he could do this to her. She asked him if she looked like a grandmother. Then his usually calm mother started to get hysterical. His uncle who had been in his study had come down to see what all the commotion was about. Maude filled him in and an amused look formed on his face. Ezra was a good con man but he did not think anyone could pull the wool over Maude's eyes. He took Maude into his study to calm her down then to tell her she had been had, leaving Matt, Jenny and Ezra all alone.

Soon Matt excused himself and left Jenny and Ezra by themselves. Ezra looked at her. He was trying to gage how mad she was at him for slandering her good name but her face was unreadable. He apologized over and over again but she still did not respond. He figured she was so angry with him she could not speak. It shocked him when she burst out laughing. She had been holding that in far too long and now she was unable to stop. The look on Maude's face had been priceless. She knew how much Maude got on his nerves sometimes. It did him good to put in her place now and again. She knew he had expected her to be upset with him and she had tried to play the part but could not.

By then Ezra had joined in and they were laughing uncontrollably. When they gained their composure. Jenny asked him what they were going to name the baby? Ezra said he had always liked the name Avery. She had smiled Avery Standish had a nice ring to it. Ezra was great with children and she could see he would make a great father some day.

Together they made their way to the garden. Discussing how they envisioned their future together. Ezra was feeling courageous that day and was going to impart to her how he felt about her. He started to only to be interrupted by his mother who had now been assured that the baby Ezra had talked about was purely fictional. He had thought his mother would have been mad but she was not. Instead she praised him on his skill and told her that she was proud of him. That was the first time those words had ever crossed her lips. His mother uncharacteristically hugged him and he looked out from the embrace at Jenny who was smiling at him. She was the only person that knew how much his mother's approval and affection really meant to him.

Now as he looked back on that day he would have traded his mother's praise for the chance to tell her how he felt. It would have changed things for them. Given them more time together. No amount of second-guessing himself would change what had happened.

Ezra could now hear Josiah's smooth voice reading, "I lied to him for the first time in my life. It was the hardest thing I had ever had to do but it was for the best. If I had done it face to face he would have seen right through me with those piercing eyes. I took the cowards way out and wrote it in a letter. My pen would barely move across the page as I wrote I was to be married. This was the farthest thing from the truth, and it was a blatant lie; a sin. I knew there was a difference between not volunteering information and concocting a false story but I felt it was for the greater good…"

Ezra remembered that letter quite clearly. It had broken his heart but he did not want to risk losing her. He was out on the first stage to see her. He was not sure what he was going to do when he saw her but he knew he needed to see her. He spent the whole trip contemplating if he should tell her his true feelings and finally came to the conclusion that it would just make things awkward between them and tear them apart.

It had been raining when he found his way to his Uncle's. His uncle had been away on a business trip but his son had been home. He opened the door and for about half an hour they exchanged small talk until he got up the courage to ask him about Jenny's future husband. Matt looked at him and stared at him in confusion. He asked Ezra what on earth he was going on about and Ezra showed him Jenny's letter. A grim look took Matt's face over. She had obviously not wanted Ezra to know the truth but he did not think it right to keep in the dark. With a heavy heart Matt told Ezra that Jenny had come down with TB and was dying.

He could not believe what Matt was telling him. His heart was breaking for the second time that week. He was angry, sad and scared all at the same time. Why her? Why not him? She was good, pure and innocent. She had barely had a chance to live. It looked like she was going to miss out on so many things. It was not fair, none of it was. He needed to calm down before he went to see her. It took several minutes before he was able hide how distraught he was. He then proceeded to her room. He had gone to knock but decided against it. He did not want to give him a chance to send him away. He still could not figure out why she had lied to him.

When he entered the room he found her curled up in her bed. At first he did not think she was a sleep but then he heard her voice. "Ezra?" she asked, "I didn't want you to see me like this."

"Why did you lie to me?" he asked her.

"There was nothing you could do. Besides I did not want to upset you," she explained.

She did not want to upset him. How would he have felt if she died without him even knowing she was sick? When there was still time for him to see her, to talk to her, to love her.

She was tired so he allowed her to get some much-needed rest. The next two weeks Ezra became her nursemaid. He took care of her. He brought her meals, spent every night curled up in the armchair in the corner of her room in case she needed anything during the night. He tried to keep her in could spirits. They played cards, talked and one time she had even been strong enough to get out of bed and they had danced like they had at the ball. Doing all this was painful for Ezra but he figured it would be even more painful if he was not there.

It was late one day, and she had been doing rather well. Ezra had spent the day explaining to her the finer points of poker, which she picked up with amazing speed. She had even beat him legitimately at a hand once. Jenny coughed and Ezra was all over her asking if he could get her something or do something to make her more comfortable.

"Ezra," she said, "I've never...um...I can't believe I'm asking this," she paused then continued. "I've never been with a man before," she blurted out, "and I was wonder if" but she couldn't say the rest it was just too hard.

"Well, I was thinking about fluffing a pillow for you or bringing you a libation. You sure do not make small request," he laughed.

"When you don't have long to live you take chances," she explained.

Ezra nodded in understanding and went to the door and turned the key to lock it from the inside. He came back to her bed and took off his jacket placing in on the nightstand of her dresser. Then he removed his vest and sat it down next to his jacket, and finally removed his cufflinks so he would not lose them.

He came over to her bed, and sat beside her. He did not say anything. He just caressed her face and slowly moved his head to meet her succulent lips. He traced a trail of kisses down her neck, but his gaze never lifted from her eyes. They held their position firmly through out their night of passion.

Ezra's flash back ended there. He fell back captive to Nathan's voice that was the last to read, "That night while he slept I watched him breathe in and out and knew with certainty that he would have a magnificent life. That he would be blessed with all his deepest desires. He would have that stability he desperately needed, that wife he longed for, and those children who would emulate him. My only regret is I would never be apart of this world." Nathan paused, "The End."

Ezra rubbed a lone tear that had crossed his face while Nathan had been reading. She had stopped there but the story had not ended there but the rest would be her and his secret, he thought. Then he decided against it. He needed to remember he had been blocking out all his memories for too long. He needed to tell people he needed to let her go.

Josiah smiled, "An amazing woman, No wonder Ezra is grieving so hard."

A figure in the door startled them. They could not make it out in the darkness of the night but when they heard the southern drawl they knew it was Ezra. "Indeed she was Mr. Sanchez, an angel I would say. Though, she was wrong about one thing. She became part of my life. For a few hours, that beautiful creature was my wife."

Ezra asked the gunslingers if they would mind letting him stay in the church a while alone. He needed to think and unravel all the things that were running through his mind. As the men left they all had a better opinion of Ezra and a better understanding of the gambler's character. The truth was Chris Larabee had come to respect the gambler through the course of reading the book. Ezra was probably the only one out of the seven who could understand what it was like to lose someone who was intertwined with your soul. He said nothing to Ezra but the bond was there. In the course of a few short hours Chris and Ezra had become linked together. This bond would exist for the remainder of their lives.

As Ezra sat on the pew in the dark, things were slowly starting to make sense. It had always been a mystery to him why he had returned to help the other six men when he left the Seminole village. Now he knew. It was because of her. For as long as he could remember she had been home to him. No place had ever done that. He felt safe and secure when he was around her. After she died he had went around the countryside with this ache in his heart; this unexplainable loneliness. When he met the guys he did not expect it to go away. He had been riding around with this feeling in the pit of his stomach for five years and nothing had lessened the emptiness. Before he had realized it they had slowly become important in his life. The town, the people he protected, and most importantly his six companions had become home to him.

He could see things clearly now. The things he did not understand before were making sense. His relationship with Nathan had always been drenched in conflict. It seemed at times that everything Ezra did was wrong to Nathan. Their relationship had not started out on the best of terms, admittedly this was Ezra's fault. Growing up in the south he had learned prejudice but being in Nathan's company for just a short time had been enough to rid him of it. Ezra had always wondered why he needed Nathan's approval. He could never understand why it hurt him so much when Nathan had not wanted him to represent his father or thought him capable of keeping a slave girl. It finally occurred to him that Nathan was very much like Jenny. True, they did not go about ascertaining things the same way but they wanted the same thing. Jenny could see Ezra's possibilities and the good in him. She gave him the strength to be a better person while Nathan called Ezra on any wrongdoing; he wanted the same thing that Jenny did. He wanted Ezra to be the man he knew he could be.

All this thinking had made Ezra tired so he thought he would lay down on the pew to rest his eyes for a moment before he went to his room to sleep but instead sleep over took him there. He spent the whole night in the church. It was not the most comfortable night sleep but at least he could finally get some.

A week later Ezra was playing poker with Buck, Nathan and Chris. They all seemed to be in better spirit, including Ezra. Ezra was enjoying their game immensely and some good teasing when Mary Travis came walking up to the table with a man about Ezra's age. None of the other men had ever seen the man before but Ezra had. It was his cousin Matt. He was obviously along way from home. What ever he was here to see Ezra about must have been of grave importance.

"Ezra, you are a hard man to track down," he exclaimed.

"Gentlemen, will excuse us, my cousin and I should probably talk in private," Ezra concluded.

Together Matt and Ezra moved over to a smaller table. When Ezra motioned to him to sit down he informed him he could not stay. He had to get back to his wife who was expecting. He told Ezra he had promised someone along time ago that he would deliver a package to him. Matt told Ezra as be placed the package before him, "I would have delivered it sooner but no one knew where to find you. I figured when the book got published that I'd be able to flush you out. So it seems I was right."

He tipped his hat and then left the saloon. Ezra gingerly opened the box in front of him and pulled out a letter that was sprinkled with the perfume she used to wear and then he pulled out a silver locket that she always wore around her next. He set down the letter and looked at the locket. She had told him once that she would only put the picture of the man she loved in there. Ezra was afraid to open the locket all though they shared a lot she had never told him she loved him. Of course, he had never told her either. That was the biggest regret of his life. He hoped he had showed her in his actions but he had never uttered those three little words. He slowly opened the locket to reveal a picture of a young man and woman. It was taken the summer they met. It was slightly faded and looked like it had been wedged in there a long time ago. He put down the locket and opened the letter it read:

My dearest Ezra,

Even know I can not find the words to tell you what you mean to me. You have always been my protector, my night in shining armor, and the one person who means the most to me in the world.

Last night while you thought I was a sleep I heard you tell me you loved me. I was shocked and in my glee I thought that maybe my mind was playing tricks on me. I had longed to hear you utter those words to me for so long. I should have told you I was awake but I could not. I was afraid if I did you would vanish and everything that we shared would disappear in to nothingness so I stayed quiet.

When you asked me to marry you, I had never been so happy. I know I should have refused. What right did I have to become your wife when I would not live to see our first anniversary? I knew this could only hurt you in the end but I had dreamt about being you wife since that first summer that we met and my desire to be so drove me in that decision.

I know I never told you how I felt. I was afraid even in the wake of death. I should have told you when I heard your confession but I could not bring myself to do so. I wanted to tell you a million times but something always held me back. I'm writing this an hour before our wedding. I have asked Matt to give it you upon my death. I do not know if I should ever find the courage to tell you how I feel but I find strength in writing. I always have. So my dear husband to be, there is nothing left to say that I love you dearly. More than any woman has ever loved any man and longer than I do draw breathe. Think of me when I'm gone but only if I bring to mind a pleasant thought for in life and death all I want is in your happiness.

Love Always,


Ezra folded up the letter and put it in the inside pocket of his jacket. She had loved him. He had always thought so but having her say so even in writing meant the world to him. He knew he would never forget her. She had been the love of his life. He doubted that he would ever find anyone like her again. She was one in a million. Her image appeared before his face and this time it brought a smile to him. He still missed her but the thought of her did not hurt anymore. It brought a peaceful calm over him. He patted his jacket where the envelope containing her letter was situated. For now until the end of time he would keep that letter next to his heart where she lived on in his memory.


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